Small businesses oppose forced union dues: Survey

Canadians would like to see employee-led approach to union dues

The majority of Canadians and small businesses don't think workers should be forced to pay union dues in unionized workplaces, according to a new survey.

The survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found 84 per cent of small businesses agree unionized employees should be protected from forced union dues.

Employees in virtually all unionized workplaces in Canada are required to pay full union dues regardless of whether or not they want to be an actual member of the union, said Catherine Swift, president at CFIB.

In some provinces, paying dues where a union exists is mandatory. In most jurisdictions, however, legislation gives unions a guarantee upon demand that dues be deducted by an employer or is negotiated by unions and employers.

"When it comes to forcing workers to join the union and to pay union dues Canada increasingly stands alone," said Swift.

"In virtually all other major economies, including Europe and the United States, workers have the choice, a fact that often surprises Canadians who believe our approach to mandatory union dues is in the international mainstream."

A 2008 survey found most Canadian support the employee-led approach to union dues found in Europe. There, employees who choose not to belong to a union either pay less dues or none at all, said Swift.

CFIB would like to see governments across Canada engage in meaningful consultations aimed at giving workers the opportunity to fully exercise their individual right to associate and, as importantly, not to associate.

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